Friday, July 26, 2013

Totally Texas -- How to channel your inner warrior

The Samurai Collection

The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum

2501 N. Harwood

Dallas, Texas 75201


My daughter gave me an odd look when I suggested visiting a museum dedicated to Japanese samurai. What will we do with the boys, she asked, as if little boys who are already devotees of Jedi knights, Medieval Times, and Lord of the Rings wouldn’t be fascinated by the culture of armored Japanese warriors.

I’ll admit, the boys probably missed the finer design points of The Barbier-Mueller Museum’s collection of samurai weapons and armor. But they were impressed by the “scary people,” as they called the full, posed suits of armor in the museum, including one boy-sized suit.

And they happily spread the brochures depicting parts of the kabuto, or helmets on the reading table in the museum’s library to design their own helmets.

More mature visitors will want to linger over the details of masterpiece silk-laced, lacquered and ornamented helmets, armor and weapons, including early examples of fuse-lighted pistols. (One was so tiny the boys at first mistook it for a bullet.)

The museum is housed on the second floor of the historic Saint Ann building in the Uptown district of Dallas. It currently showcases dozens of examples of helmets, masks, armor, weapons and accessories such as feather and bearskin spear covers. The library also includes an array of helmets from European and other Asian cultures for comparison.

While you’re there, step across the patio of the downstairs restaurant to the adjacent Saint Ann Court office building to view the specimens of horse equipment and mounted samurai figures in its lobby.

The museum is easy to tour on your own, although it also offers an Ipad multimedia guide. Groups may schedule guided tours in advance by contacting the museum at 214-965-1032 or

The museum is located in the St. Ann building at 2501 N. Harwood, between Olive and Moody streets. There’s free parking across the street, or bring your valet parking ticket to the restaurant on the building’s first floor for validation.

Admission to the museum is free. It’s open Tuesdays 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., Wednesdays - Saturdays 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed on Mondays.  For more information, see The Ann & Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Museum on Facebook, or visit

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